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This epic 12-day itinerary combines the four islands of Svalbard, Jan Mayen, Greenland and Iceland and showcases the uniqueness and splendour of the nature of the Arctic. Set sail with Albatros Expeditions onboard Ocean Atlantic, one of the few ice-class expedition ships built to withstand the pack ice of this frozen wilderness.
How far north this expedition will venture will depend on ice and weather conditions, however, the many amazing locations along the west coast of Svalbard are kept navigable by the gulf stream and will mean you'll visit the summer residence of the polar bear, getting as close as possible to the pack ice north of Svalbard. Onboard Ocean Atlantic you will also sail to Greenland before continuing to the enigmatic Jan Mayen Island. From here, it is onwards to Scoresby Sund and its deep fascinating fjord system. Your ship will then cross the Denmark Strait to the Iceland's intriguing capital, Reykjavik.
Enjoy the Arctic's immense beauty on this adventure cruise among whales, walrus, polar bears and millions of sea birds. Experience high summer in the Arctic with Ocean Atlantic and Albatros.
Day 1: Longyearbyen
Day 2: Kongsfjorden, NY Alesund and Lilliehook Glacier
Day 3: Smeerenburg and Ytre Norskoya
Days 4 - 6: At sea
Day 7: Jan Mayen Island
Days 8 & 9: Ittiqqortoormiit and Scoresby Sund
Days 10 & 11: At sea
Day 12: Reykjavik
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Upon arriving in Longyearbyen, a short city tour will introduce you to the fascinating history and contemporary society in the Capital of Svalbard – possibly the northernmost ‘real’ town in the world.
Your vessel, Ocean Atlantic, is docked close to the town centre. After boarding and a welcome drink, the Expedition Leader will provide information about the voyage, the ship's daily routines and the various security and safety procedures. Before sailing, there will be a mandatory safety drill. The Captain then takes the ship out of Advent Fjord and your Arctic adventure commences.
During the ‘night’ (what is night, when the sun never sets?), your ship will have passed Prins Karls Forland and arrived in the magnificent Kongsfjord. Your first landing will be at Ny Ålesund. This settlement is in fact further north than Longyearbyen, making it THE northernmost town. The Captain will try to get alongside, so you can enjoy an easy walk through the area.
In the afternoon, your ship will continue further north into the fjord system, and depending on the ice situation, you may be able to enjoy a Zodiac cruise along the Lilliehöök Glacier front… or enjoy a lecture.
With some arctic luck, you will be able to navigate past the magnificent scenery in the bay of Fjortende Juli, where the glacier Fjortende Juli-breen calves into the fjord. A fitting end to a day full of scenic views and arctic wildlife.
You have now entered North-West Svalbard, which was declared a national park in 1973. The day could begin with a Zodiac cruise in Danskergattet, looking for seals in Virgohamna, before crossing from Danskøya to Amsterdamøya to make a landing at Smeerenburg, the legendary whaling town of 17th century. 200-plus men were living – and quite often dying – here in the heyday of blubber production.
There are several interesting places to visit in this northwestern corner of Spitsbergen. If conditions allow you’ll make a landing on Ytre Norskøya, where whalers would have their lookout posts
During the night the ship will steer far north towards the edge of the polar pack ice. How far north only time and weather will tell. This is the kingdom of the polar bear! As the pack ice retreats during summer, polar bears ride the floes north, as this is where their prey - the seals - resides. Bears who for unfortunate reasons do not ‘catch’ the ice moving north, are stranded on Svalbard all summer and will have to sustain on berries, eggs and whatever whale carcasses they can find.
During the day, lectures on polar mammals, environment and/or culture can be enjoyed onboard in the Viking Theater. Should we get into the pack ice where the sea usually is calm, a Zodiac cruise will be arranged.
At the end of the day, your ship will start cruising towards the Jan Mayen
Listen to a lecture from the experienced expedition staff, see a film about Arctic nature – or go out on deck to catch glimpses of migrating birds and hopefully some whales.
Approximately in the middle of the North Atlantic lies the enigmatic volcanic island of Jan Mayen. And if not exactly in the middle, at least it is located precisely on the Mid Atlantic Ridge, the reason for its volcanic existence. And enigmatic it is, not only because of its isolation but also due to the almost perpetual clouds and fog that hovers above it. Jan Mayen belongs to Norway, and the mountain Beerenberg is one of the higher of Norway’s 300 summits above 2,000 meters.
The island is inhabited by only 18 people, running the meteorological station and the Norwegian Defense. We will try to go ashore at the narrowest part of the island, from either south or north, depending on the prevailing wind and surf. The volcanic origin is visible all over with cinder cones, lava flows and the Mount Fuji-like appearance of Beerenberg looming above. After a pleasant stroll on the narrow isthmus, you will board the Zodiacs and Ocean Atlantic to continue your voyage west.
You will scout after wildlife along the pack ice and cruise into the fjords in the most unique and unspoiled nature of North-East Greenland today. Your crew will try to make landings at Bear Island and Cape Brewster. You will visit Ittiqqortoormiit. With only 470 inhabitants it is one of the most isolated towns in Greenland only accessible by helicopter and boat in a short time in the summer. The town is located at the longest fjord in the world, Scoresby Sund. You will explore this fjord and hopefully be able to kayak and make landings weather and ice conditions permitting.
Possibly the most dramatic coast outside of Antarctica, the Blosseville is guarded by Greenland’s highest mountains and steepest fjords – and a belt of pack ice. The recent decade has had warmer summers and much less ice which enables ice-strengthened vessels such as Ocean Atlantic to venture along the coast, on the lookout for stunning wildlife, abandoned Inuit settlements and otherworldly landscapes.
On your last day of this remarkable voyage, your ship sets a course for Iceland and its capital of Reykjavík.
In the morning Ocean Atlantic goes alongside in the port of Reykjavik. It’s time to say farewell to the crew and begin the homeward journey.
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Newly renovated in 2016, Albatros Expeditions' Ocean Atlantic is a ship purpose-built for expedition cruising in the polar regions, and one of the strongest ships operating in the Arctic and Antarctica. Her powerful engines are designed for extreme voyages, allowing her guests the opportunity to both witness and get up-close to the incredible polar wildlife and the regions' awe-inspiring scenery.
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